This New Year is going to be big for television weddings. Coronation Street has just had a dramatic one over a hospital bedside. A Royal engagement was announced, between an Olympic show jumper and an international rugby player, and to the joy of many, one handsome young man finally popped the question to his beautiful fiance. The wedding will be watched my millions. After a turkey dinner, several cans of John Smiths and wearing a silly Christmas hat, the young man from the Royale Family, is finally going to marry his pregnant girlfriend.We are all so excited for Anthony.
The other Royal wedding this year is taking place in the slightly more sober surroundings of Westminster Abbey. Our future king, William, is finally going to marry his Kate. There will be wall to wall television coverage with flag-waving and cheering crowds lining the streets. There will be bunting and banners. There will be foreign dignitaries from all over the world pouring into London. Every single hotel and B&B in the capital will be booked up, along with much pomp and circumstance that accompanies these occasions. But on that same weekend, somewhere in a quiet corner of Piccadilly, another event is taking place. I will be silently pedaling out of London on the start of my round the world cycle ride: the only noticable pageantry being a small group of family and friends waving me goodbye.
I have chosen to leave London on a Sunday, as it is usually quieter than other days and at first I was disappointed that the Royal wedding date fell on the same weekend I was going to leave. I was following the proposed dates for the wedding very closely on the news. "Phew!" I thought, as it was first suggested it was to be in summer. "It won't clash with my trip" Then it changed to Spring; then they honed it down to March and then the final date was confirmed as, Friday 29th April! I couldn't believe it! It was going to be the same weekend that I would be setting off on my journey! Luckily the wedding takes place on the Friday before the Sunday I leave, and the chaos should have died down by then. Besides, my chosen route out of the city, means I shall be cycling through Cannon Street, on route to London Bridge, which on any weekend, let alone a Bank Holiday, augers well for a quiet ride.
Tourists are not interested in visiting the financial area of London and any lingering, celebratory crowds should be sardined into the West End. So it looks like myself and my fellow cyclist, Astrid, shall still manage a stress free ride out of the capital after all.
After my initial resentment at the possibility of having to cycle through the madding crowds, I now think The Wedding, will be a bit of a fillip to my round the world bike ride. In my dotage when people ask that timeless question, "Where were you the day that King William got married?" It will be refreshing to give a different answer than the more prosaic,'doing the washing up'. It will be so much more interesting to say that I had just started out on my round the world adventure: although,I hardly need a Royal wedding to remind me what I was doing on that particular weekend!
So, while William and Kate are busy with their preparations, I too, am putting the finishing touches to mine. With only four months before departure, the monthly checklist is being steadily reduced, with only a few things left to do now; most of which are things ongoing; such as the completion of my jabs, the medicines that I will need, and all those last minute items. And now the snow and ice has gone,it will be good to get out on my bike again and cycle off a few of those festive mince pies!
Apart from watching Top Gear and the joy of seeing England retaining the Ashes in Australia (by a thrashing, I have to add!)surely one of the great experiences of Christmas is coming down on Christmas morning and seeing all the brightly coloured boxes of presents underneath the tree. This Christmas, I had to look very hard for mine! For obvious reasons, I asked for small presents this year. And they were small: very small: small packages;little soaps;tiny bags.But size is everything! Of all my wonderful presents this year, I became very excited about - two flannels! Ah! but before you start thinking, sad person or even, sad, unwashed person,these are special flannels! They are bought, vacuum packed to the size of a fifty pence piece. Only when soaked in water do they 'unravel'to normal size. So while I am hauling my worldly goods around the globe, these coin sized flannels will be saving valuable space in my bike panniers (until I use them of course, but even then, they still use up very little space in the wash bag) On reflection, sad person, may just be a correct description.
But I couldn't be more pleased with all my tiny presents this year. Lilliput is not on my world intinerary, but should I come across it, I will be well prepared!
Happy New Year